Saturday, 17 November 2018

life day

Our faithful chronicler, Doctor Caligari, records that on this day among many, may other momentous events in 1978, CBS aired the two-hour, never to be rebroadcast spectacle, the Star Wars Holiday Special (lest you thought Christmas-creep was a new thing) on this evening.
The nearly unwatchable show (made harder to view by dint of the fact that only bootleg copies of poor fidelity are in circulation) hinges on the plot of Han Solo and Chewbacca travelling to Kashyyk, the Wookie home world, to celebrate Life Day with his family (Itchy, like Chewie, being a nickname and short for Attichitcuk). The special introduces the bounty-hunter Boba Fett as well as Ackmena, a Mos Eisley’s cantina bartender played by Bea Arthur and for the first time credits the voice of Darth Vader to James Earl Jones. The original cast gather at the end to spend the holiday together.


auto-stitch: winners and honourable-mentions in the Epson panoramic photography competition

members elect: a set of emojis illustrates the stark contrast in diversity between the newly elected Democrat and Republican representatives matriculating in the 116th US Congress in January

peak curtains: IKEA updates its 2002 lamp advertisement with the same principal prop

introducing the hemimastix: researchers in Nova Scotia uncover a microbe radically out of place in defined biological kingdoms, via Marginal Revolution

drei haselnüsse für aschenbrödel: legendary German actor Rolf Hoppe, who played iconic and memorable roles as fairy tale kings, cowboys and frightful villains, has passed away

coal in your stocking: classy company (previously—not really I think but just as tasteless) is producing a knock LEGO set of Trump’s border wall

fully-interlocking: jigsaw puzzle manufacturers tend to use the same patterns for multiple puzzles—resulting in surreal compositions, via Nag on the Lake 

a sucker born every minute

Scams that appeal to one’s vanity or the hopeful and resourceful spirits of inventors are of course nothing new and we’re all prone to be had in one way or another, but this investigation by Planet Money at the instigation of a local journalist who has dedicated months to this story is really telling of the mindset of people who’ll go to extraordinary lengths to cheat and deceive and defend what they’ve done.
While the adage if it’s free then you’re the product is patently true and gratuitous services are ubiquitous with the corollary that one pays for quality might make us blind to obvious rackets, it’s telling that the individual that the US Grifter-in-Chief installed after he fired his obsequious Attorney General as acting chief of the Department of Justice was a paid shill for the fraudulent invention promotion firm and evangelised for the company to lend it an air of legimacy. Do give the whole episode a listen and subscribe to their podcast.

founding fathers

Historian of Japan Nick Kapur shares his discovery of an 1861 publication called Osananetoki Bankokubanashi (童絵解万国噺) by writer Kanagaki Robun and artist Utagawa Yoshitora that brilliantly indulge America’s foundational myths from a very different perspective (previously), filling in details that did not quite translate.
Here is a relatively sedate scene of George Washington and his wife “Carol consulting with a young and spry Benjamin Franklin but other, more fantastic scenes include Washington and John Adams battling fiercesome tigers and an enormous serpent—that earlier devoured Adams’aged mother during a picnic and a younger Washington taught the skill of archery by the Goddess of America. This book show that interest in the fledgling republic were still enduring at the cusps of its own civil war and nearly a decade since US Commodore Matthew Perry forcibly opened up Japanese ports to trade. Be sure to visit Nag on the Lake and Open Culture at the links above to learn more.